(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
See other formats

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"


of knowledge. The shortest rule here, he says, " would be,
* Consult the schools of the Jesuits/ for nothing better has
been put in practice." , A more detailed discussion of the process
of learning is given in aTragmentary Discourse Touching Helps for
the Intellectual Powers, written sometime about 1600 in the form
of a letter to Henry Saville, the headmaster of Eton, after a visit
"To the school. " As touching the framing and seasoning of youth
to moral virtues," he remarks, " (the philosophers) handle it;
but touching the improvement of the intellectual powers, as of
conceit, memory and judgment, they say nothing." His view is
that there should be " exercises " for the intellect, just as there are
exercises for the will and for the body, and he indicates the general
character of these exercises in outline notes. His first principle
is : " That exercises are to be framed to the life : that is to say,
to work ability in that kind, whereof the mind in the course of
actions shall have most use." But where for any reason that is
not possible, the mind may be prepared indirectly in other ways :
" As if want of memory grow through lightness of wit and want of
stayed attention, then the mathematics or the law helpeth, be-
cause they are things wherein if the mind once roams it cannot
recover." The underlying idea, it will be noted, is the view of
education as a training of mental faculty, which is one of the most
distinctive features of modern thought on the subject.

Bacon has more to say about university education. In the
second book of The Advancement of Learning^ he points out,
tmrchin the spirit of Ramus whom he follows here, what seem to
him its main defects: (i) The main studies of the universities
are all professional, while the arts and sciences which are the
Foundations of learning are commonly neglected. " This dedica-
"tton of colleges and societies to the use only of professory learning
has not only been inimical to the growth of the sciences, but has
also been prejudicial to states and governments. For hence it
proceeds that princes when they have to choose men for business
of state find a wonderful dearth of able men around them ; because
there is no collegiate education designed for these purposes,
where men naturally so disposed and affected might (besides
other arts) give* themselves especially to histories, modern lan-
guages, books of policy and civil discourse ; whereby they might
come better prepared and instructed to offices of state." (2)
Provision for any kind of experimental work is either lacking